boys and girls club

Alumni of Boys and Girls Clubs Make a Difference in the World

For more than a century and a half, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been providing the nation’s youth with a safe place to learn, grow, socialize, and prepare for success in their future academic and career pursuits. Over the years, millions of young people have benefitted from Club programs and have gone on to make major contributions to their professions and communities.

Today, BGCA estimates that the number of Club alumni in the world is close to 16 million people. To support these former Club members and provide them with opportunities to advance current BGCA programs, the organization recently launched its Alumni and Friends network. As part of the group’s work, BGCA oversees its Alumni Hall of Fame and operates various alumni initiatives. Read on to learn more about the latest Hall of Fame honorees and find out how BGCA alumni work in support of local Clubs and their youth members.

 

The BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame

While BGCA values the stories of all of its former members, it places a special emphasis on highlighting those individuals whose Club experiences helped to lead them to successful careers and/or roles in society. Each year, the organization recognizes top alumni by inducting a new class of honorees into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame.

In addition to accomplished business executives and government leaders, BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame members include well-known Olympians and professional athletes, as well as award-winning actors, musicians, and other artists. The Hall of Fame also comprises prominent military and community leaders.

The list of well-known Hall of Fame honorees includes top actors such as Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, along with successful athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Ashanti Douglas, Trey Songz, and several other musicians have also been inducted into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame. Other prominent members include the dancer Misty Copeland, politician Judith Zaffirini, and Olympic gold medalist Brook Bennett.

 

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Meet the 2019 Hall of Fame Honorees

The BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame recently got a bit bigger due to the addition of the 2019 class of inductees. Although each of the seven class members came from different backgrounds and went on to pursue different interests, they all share the experience of finding success in their chosen field after benefitting from the programs offered at their local Boys and Girls Club. The 2019 BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame inductees include the following:

Colonel John Chu—A former member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Fullerton in California, Colonel Chu attended his local Club from the age of 12 through high school. He went on to graduate from the US Military Academy and now commands more than 6,000 soldiers at Georgia’s Fort Gordon.

Trinity “Naomi” Fatu—Trinity Fatu attended Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida and grew up to become a dancer for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. She joined professional wrestling’s WWE later in her career and has been a cast member on Totally Divas on E since 2013.

Denise White—As a member of the Escondido Girls Club in California, Denise White found the support she needed after spending her early childhood in foster care. Today, she is a successful business leader who oversees one of the top athlete management firms in the sports industry.

Tom Ehlmann—Tom Ehlmann became a member of St. Charles Boys Club in Missouri when he was 8 and maintained membership throughout high school. His Club experience helped to lead him on the path to his current career as the president and general manager of Dallas’ NBC TV station. He also serves as a board member for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.

 

Benefits of Becoming a BGCA Alumni Member

Regardless of what they’ve done since moving on from their local Club, BGCA invites all alumni and supporters to join its Alumni and Friends network. With help from national sponsor Keurig Dr Pepper and national spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal, the BGCA Alumni and Friends network recruits and engages with former Club members from across the United States and other countries around the globe.

Alumni and supporters who join the network have the opportunity to reconnect with other former members of their hometown Clubs while building new relationships with Club members and friends from other areas of the country. The BGCA Alumni and Friends network also provides members with access to scholarships, mentorship, and career-support resources. This includes the support and resources offered as part of the “Stay Connected” campaign for new Club alumni who are graduating from high school.

In addition to providing Alumni and Friends with opportunities to improve their own lives, the network makes it easy for members to serve as advocates or volunteers for local Boys and Girls Clubs. Those who become involved can provide direct support for Club activities and help champion youth programming on the state and federal levels. More information about the BGCA Alumni and Friends network is available at www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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A Look at the Latest Top Stories from the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) works to reduce death caused by heart disease and stroke. As part of these efforts, the organization partners with government agencies, lawmakers, and other nonprofit groups to inform public policy and create health-promoting initiatives that benefit people of all ages.

The AHA’s latest activities have been directed toward several specific groups, including young people, women, and Native Americans. Read on to learn about all the latest news from the AHA.

 

Warning against the Consumption of Sugary Drinks

In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the AHA recently released a joint policy statement endorsing a suite of public health measures aimed at reducing the consumption of sugary drinks among the nation’s youth. According to the statement’s authors, American children and adolescents consume over 30 gallons of sugar-laden beverages each year. The consumption of added sugars has been linked to numerous health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

To reduce children’s access to cheap sugary drinks, the AAP and AHA recommend several broad policy solutions to be implemented on the local, state, and national levels. These include recommendations to increase public education and decrease the marketing of sugary drinks to children and teens. The AAP and AHA’s joint policy statement also recommends raising the price of sugar-laden beverages via an excise tax.

 

New Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Guideline

CPRThe AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) recently outlined the key recommendations of the latest Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease guideline. The guideline, which was released during ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Sessions, provides practical recommendations for reducing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and associated issues such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

The lifestyle recommendations outlined in the guideline include eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco products. The ACC and AHA also advise that clinicians use caution when prescribing preventative aspirin use to people without known cardiovascular disease.

 

Fighting to End Tobacco and Nicotine Use

For several decades, one of the major policy priorities of the AHA has been focused on drastically reducing tobacco use and exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke. Recently, the organization released a new policy statement that outlines what health care providers and the public health community must do to achieve what the statement’s authors call the “tobacco endgame.”

In addition to minimizing the use of combustible tobacco products, the statement calls for close examination of e-cigarette use, a trend which is particularly prevalent among youth. Specific actions highlighted in the statement include strengthening government oversight of tobacco and nicotine products. This includes enhancing the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations concerning the manufacture, design, and marketing of both combustible tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

 

Improving Heart Attack Care

As one of the nation’s top accreditation and certification organizations, the AHA oversees various initiatives to improve patient care. Many of these programs are based on AHA’s clinical guidelines covering various cardiac disease and stroke topics. Together with the health care evaluation organization The Joint Commission, the Association has developed new certifications for hospitals that treat stroke and cardiac patients.

Beginning in July 2019, hospitals can begin working toward the Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC) and Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) certifications. In addition to recognizing hospitals for providing consistent, evidence-based heart attack and stroke care, the PHAC and AHAR certifications support the AHA’s efforts to save lives by promoting health care excellence worldwide.

 

New Campaign Supports Native Nutrition

fruitSince 2015, the AHA has worked with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) to support efforts aimed at Native-led dietary health advocacy. As part of this work, the AHA and SMSC have recently partnered with First Nations Development Institute and the American Indian Cancer Foundation to launch the Policy Innovation Fund.

Focused on improving nutrition and reducing health disparities in Native American communities, the $1.6-million fund will provide grants that tribes and Native-led organizations can use for nutrition and health policy initiatives at the tribal, state, and national levels. Administrators of the Policy Innovation Fund are in the process of soliciting proposals for competitive grants ranging from $75,000 to $100,000.

 

Research Goes Red Initiative

Through its Go Red for Women movement and other initiatives, the AHA raises awareness and funds lifesaving research focused on ending heart disease and stroke among women. During American Heart Month in February 2019, the Association announced the launch of the Research Goes Red initiative, which aims to engage women in valuable scientific research in the area of heart health.

Launched in collaboration with Verily’s Project Baseline, Research Goes Red will leverage the AHA’s Go Red for Women community to invite women nationwide to share their health information and volunteer for clinical research projects. The initiative supports the overall goals of Project Baseline, which seeks to improve lives by driving health care innovation.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

children

This Is How Boys and Girls Clubs Prioritize Child Safety

boysandgirlsclubAs one of the country’s most well-known and trusted youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) takes its commitment to child safety in all of its programs extremely seriously. No individual or group is entirely immune from danger. However, BGCA has comprehensive protection measures in place to shield Club youth from anything that puts them at risk.

The organization also maintains a zero-tolerance policy that enforces its safety guidelines. This ensures that all Club staff, volunteers, and members adhere to the highest standards of ethical and safe behavior.

Moreover, BGCA advances programs and initiatives that focus specifically on protecting and supporting marginalized or overlooked kids and teens. Over the years, the group has taken an active role outside of Club doors to combat child abuse and promote safety within all youth organizations.

Its past work includes advocating for the passage of the US Protect Act and partnering with the FBI and other organizations on various youth-protection initiatives. Keep reading to learn more about BGCA’s commitment to child safety.

 

The BGCA Safety Plan

At the core of BGCA’s work to protect and support Club members is a multi-step plan that adheres to the latest best practices in youth safety. It was developed by BGCA’s Child and Club Safety Department. This provides local Clubs with support for issues ranging from physical and emotional safety to facilities management and emergency and disaster preparedness.

The plan starts by requiring that all staff members at its more than 4,300 Clubs nationwide undergo a comprehensive criminal background check. This includes screening through the National Sex Offender Registry.

The same checks are required of all BGCA board members and any volunteer who has direct contact with Club youth. Any potential employee or volunteer who has ever been convicted of a felony or recently convicted of a misdemeanor involving physical assault or battery, drugs, or animal cruelty is not eligible to work with BGCA on any level.

Another major component of BGCA’s safety plan focuses on providing ongoing child safety training for both staff and volunteers. The training is delivered through seminars, webinars, and conferences.

Each year, the organization takes a lead role in the National Child Safety and Protection Symposium. This event gives groups from across the United States the opportunity to share best practices for protecting the country’s youth.

Along with participating in regular safety training, all BGCA affiliates must maintain comprehensive safety policies and procedures. To ensure that the policies elevate safety to the highest level, each Club conducts annual assessments and oversees a board-led committee focused specifically on youth safety.

In addition to helping local Clubs carry out safety policies, these committees assist with critical incident reporting to local law enforcement and national BGCA authorities. The actions, strategies, goals, and objectives of the local committees are further managed by regional Board of Governors Safety Committees comprising BGCA staff members and other stakeholders.

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Additional Safety Resources

On the national level, BGCA provides access to a variety of additional resources to reinforce local policies and promote a culture of safety among all Club affiliates. This includes the National Child Safety Advisory Task Force.

The task force brings BGCA leadership and child safety experts together to advance safety initiatives and provide guidance to local Club leaders. All BGCA affiliates have access to an online tool that enables them to self-assess their own safety plans at any time.

Additional resources include the 200-page Keep Safe: The Club Safety Desk Reference manual. It offers tools and guidance for creating customized safety strategies in local Clubs.

BGCA also publishes a guide of safety awareness activities and maintains a 24-hour safety hotline. This enables Club staff members, volunteers, and youth to report concerns and/or receive confidential safety advice.

 

Boys and Girls Clubs’ Commitment to Vulnerable Youth

In its efforts to lead the way in child safety advocacy, BGCA places a special emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable youth populations. The organization’s work in this area includes several initiatives designed to give kids and teens in need a safe place to develop meaningful relationships while building the skills required to attain success.

One of these initiatives is Be There. It equips Clubs with the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide safe and supportive environments for grieving youth and their families.

Other BGCA initiatives are focused more specifically on inclusion. Through a combination of on-site and online training as well as ongoing coaching and counseling, the organization guides Club managers and staff members in providing a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for all children. This includes those living with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities.

Additionally, BGCA works to ensure equity and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, who account for 16 percent of Club teens. The organization’s leadership considers its efforts in this area essential to its broader mission to give every child and teen access to an out-of-school environment where they can feel safe both physically and emotionally.

To learn more about BGCA’s commitment to youth safety, visit www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

boys and girls club

A Look at the Results of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Latest Survey

As part of its efforts to provide programs and services that meet the changing needs of veterans, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) conducts an annual survey of service members who have sustained combat-related injuries. Now in its ninth year, WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey collects data on respondents’ physical and mental health, employment, health care options, and day-to-day challenges and successes.

The results of the most recent Warrior Survey were released during a special panel discussion held at The Brookings Institution in December 2018. Keep reading for an overview of the top takeaways that WWP will use to guide future programming.

 

About the Survey Respondents

In conducting its ninth Annual Warrior Survey, WWP reached out to over 98,000 of its veteran members between March 20 and May 14, 2018. The efforts resulted in completed surveys from 33,067 respondents, which is the largest group since the survey was first conducted in 2010.

Among those who completed the survey, 83.5 percent were men with an average age of just under 40 years old. The majority of respondents, (66.6 percent) were Caucasian followed by Hispanics (18.5 percent) and African Americans (14 percent). Other races/ethnicities represented in the survey included American Indians or Alaskan Natives (5.3 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders (1.7 percent).

Of the respondents, only 6.4 percent reported that they are currently enlisted in the military while nearly half (45.3 percent) stated that they were deployed three or more times during their military career. Over three-quarters of the respondents also reported that their previous military experience continues to affect their day-to-day lives in adverse ways.

 

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Physical and Mental Well-Being

One of the biggest takeaways from WWP’s 9th Annual Warrior Survey is that over 78 percent of respondents stated that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is their main health challenge. The other most commonly self-reported injuries and health effects from the survey included sleep problems (75.4 percent); back, neck, and shoulder issues (73.7 percent); and depression (70.3 percent). Over 32 percent of respondents reported that they required at least some assistance from another person because of their injuries or health issues, and approximately one-quarter of respondents stated that they needed 40 hours or more of assistance each week.

In addition to assessing their mental and physical health issues, the Annual Warrior Survey questioned respondents about how their health affects their daily activities. More than 7 out 10 of the warriors surveyed reported that their health limits them at least somewhat in their daily activities, and over 80 percent stated that they aren’t as productive as they’d like to be due to their physical health or emotional problems. The majority (89.8 percent) of those reporting physical injuries or emotional problems also stated that their health issues adversely affect their social activities with family and friends.

 

Access to Care

Fortunately, over 75 percent of respondents reported having health insurance through the VA. The number represents a steady increase over previous years. More than two-thirds of those with VA insurance stated that the organization is their primary health care provider. While one-third of the respondents stated that they had problems accessing physical and behavioral health care services through the VA, most of the reported issues were related to scheduling conflicts.

 

Social Support Snapshot

Along with obtaining care through the VA and other organizations, many veterans with mental and/or physical health issues benefit from the ongoing support of family and friends. In fact, over 80 percent of respondents to the Warrior Survey stated that they had people in their lives who are available to help when they need them.

Many warriors who took part in the survey also cited how beneficial it was for them to interact with other veterans, particularly those who share similar experiences related to post-9/11 military service. In addition to promoting social integration, these interactions helped veterans to address the mental health issues that they dealt with on a regular basis. Over 52 percent of the survey respondents stated that they relied on other veterans as a source for improving their well-being. Many of the respondents also used the survey comment section to encourage WWP to provide more opportunities for these types of interactions.

 

Building on Successes Going Forward

In addition to demonstrating that many veterans benefit from a strong social network, the results of WWP’s Warrior Survey highlighted other veterans’ successes that are worth celebrating. For one, the survey showed that the number of veterans with a bachelor’s degree or higher continues to increase. Approximately one-quarter of survey respondents reported being currently enrolled in a higher education program, and over 70 percent of them are pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, or professional/doctorate degrees.

Beyond their efforts to attain additional education, more warriors are finding employment. While there are still barriers that make it difficult for some to get a job, the unemployment rate among veterans has dropped considerably in recent years. Improved employment numbers are also translating to a higher percentage of homeowners. Among the veterans who responded to the survey, 60 percent reported that they are homeowners. This represents a 14 percent increase since 2014.

Currently, WWP is using the takeaways from its ninth Annual Warrior Survey to better meet the needs of the veterans and military families that it serves. To learn about how you can advance WWP’s mission, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.